WWBT: To Cut Or Not To Cut

OBR's Lane Adkins offers insight on team's cut-day thought process

As the 2011 season readies for kickoff, the latest news, notes and speculation surrounding the Browns is in high gear.

- Backup running back Montario Hardesty is a year removed from another major knee injury. He has made it to the active roster and awaits his first regular season game action.

While the timetable for Hardesty's return was on schedule, the second-year back has yet to gain the burst off his initial step and appears slowed laterally.

The Browns have been very careful and methodical in Hardesty's return to the practice field, which has raised questions to whether he is really ready for the regular-season grind.

In a training camp, where Hardesty was limited early and carried the ball even less in game conditions, much of the same should be expected as the season commences.

And, this is just one of the reasons the Browns kept undrafted free agent back Armond Smith on the roster.

- As the organization evaluated the roster when making the necessary moves to get down to the 53-player limit, some interesting thoughts surrounded the wide receiver position.

Intrigued and disappointed would be the simplest way to describe the thoughts on second-year wide receiver Carlton Mitchell. Mitchell would flash in practice, providing a look the Browns seek, which a bigger type receiver that can stretch the field vertically.

Then, as soon as he would excel, he would be prone to inconsistency of some form. From cutting a route off to dropping a pass, Mitchell is developing, but not quite there.

On cut-down day, the Browns seriously considered releasing Mitchell, but the intrigue of he and rookie Greg Little potentially lining up in the new offensive scheme was too great … for now.

- Another name that surfaced as a potential camp cut was third-year wide out Brian Robiskie. Despite gaining praise from the head coach, Robiskie was rumored to be on the bubble late in camp, according to numerous sources.

Despite the speculation, Robiskie was not on the chopping block as the organization decided the future at the position this past Saturday.

While Robiskie's production has been an overall disappointment in his two seasons since being selected in the second round of the 2009 draft, the current coaching staff believes Robiskie can fill a viable roll in the receiver friendly offense of Pat Shurmur.

And for Robiskie, it's now or never in Cleveland.

- Newly acquired offensive lineman Artis Hicks is pleased with the opportunity presented to him in Cleveland. While the organization hadn't promised anything him, Hicks has thrust himself into the middle of the mix, spending considerable time studying the Browns offensive.

As heading into the install of the game-plan for Sunday's battle against the Cincinnati Bengals, rookie Jason Pinkston remains the starter at left guard, but this could certainly change in an instant.

- Veteran defensive back Mike Adams has earned a starting spot next to T.J. Ward at safety. Because of a hamstring injury that shelved free agent acquisition Usama Young throughout training camp, Adams rose to the occasion.

Heading in the season opener, Adams will start and Young, who is now nearly 100 percent healthy, will be his backup. Young is expected to play barring and further health issue this week in practice.

- Hamstring injuries slowed Ward and wide receiver Josh Cribbs late in camp, forcing each to miss practice time and preseason game activity.

Ward and Cribbs are healthy and will start Sunday.


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